Otherwise Fine Interview - A Future Classic

Meet Otherwise Fine, a duo delivering sensational avant-garde electronic music. With the release of their debut EP, IwantU, Otherwise Fine have elevated their position within the electronic scene with their progressive and introspective sound. We had a chat to Spencer Baird from the band to talk through the Otherwise Fine project, their debut EP, and their unique aesthetic.

Futuremag Music: Hey Otherwise Fine, how's life treating you?

Otherwise Fine: Life is great at the moment. The debut EP IwantU is out now and the reception has been pretty fantastic! Its super humbling to see the reach the EP has had considering it was completely self-released. Definitely feeling the love.

Futuremag Music: Can you talk us through how you moved into production? What's your relationship with music been like over the years?

Otherwise Fine: Definitely! I think the process of moving into production was a bit of an inevitability. Music has always been a massive part of my life. I started playing drums when I was really young and by 14 I was already touring (with what was essentially the Canadian version of Stomp - the Broadway show where they drum on buckets and trash cans) in the summers and on weekends. In high school I did the whole Whiplash thing, playing and competing in Jazz bands, and recorded a couple of EPs with local bands. When I started University in 2010, it was right around the time electronic music was making its entrance into the mainstream. I actually went to Uni for sciences, but I still had the need to have some sort of musical outlet, and found myself getting into DJ’ing. With my foot in the door of the electronic scene, I started dabbling with production for edits and mashups. It wasn’t long before I was trying out my hand at original productions. 

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Futuremag Music: Can you explain your production and writing process for your Iwantu EP? What's your favourite part of writing a new piece of music? What would you like listeners to take away from your music?

Otherwise Fine: In general, I actually don’t really think I have a specific writing or production process. For me it’s usually just a ton of messing around until something grabs me, some sort of kernel of inspiration. And then, tunnel vision for 6 hours trying to capture all the ideas in my head before they’re gone. Wait, for example, started as this little guitar riff idea I had. ‘IwantU’, started just with the piano. Moving on, has a little more forethought as I had an initial draft of the track, but I knew I wanted to give it the ODESZA ‘IplayYouListen’ treatment. Most of the time it’s just me doing my best to get something down and hoping I still like it the following day. 

I think my favourite part of writing a new piece of music is the moment where that initial inspiration strikes and suddenly you are filled with a million ideas, and one by one you implement the ideas and everything just starts to come together. Like an author spilling words onto a page, I really love the process of hearing something in my head and then making it reality. 

I just hope listeners can find a song on the EP that they like and connect with. I didn’t set out with a goal to produce a summer pop hit. This EP was really just something I wrote to help me get through a shitty time in my life, so maybe it can help someone get though a shitty time in theirs.

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Futuremag Music: Your promotional material melds iconic cinema and tv moments with your soundscapes. Where did this come from? What's the connection between your music and film? Do you see your music being used in the film and television in the future?

Otherwise Fine: To be honest, this kind of just happened. So Otherwise Fine actually consists of myself, Spencer Baird, and Jake Sinclair, who is the resident graphic designer / visual artist of the project. From the beginning, there was a strong desire to attach visual content to the music, so one day we were tossing ideas around about using scenes from movies where the actors are listening to music. More so just to generate visuals at a time where we had none. That first edit of Drive came about right after that conversation. The next edit (that scene from the Notebook) was meant to be just a play on words, but it really works. Then, 500 days of Summer is my favourite movie, and Garden State is Jake's, so those scenes were already in our heads. It kind of all kind of just fell into place. To be honest, I hadn’t even realised the connection of all this to the album art until Jake pointed it out. There was actually never an intentional connection between the music and film. But I think it works. 

I would absolutely love to see an Otherwise Fine track on the big screen. If anyone knows anyone at Netflix, slide into those DMs! 

Futuremag Music: What are your future plans for the Otherwise Fine project?

Otherwise Fine: There is actually a ton of exciting things happening. I’m already hard at work on the next batch of singles, and Jake just finished wrapping up our first music video. There is also Otherwise Fines first official remix - that I can’t say too much about yet - which I am super excited for. A lot happening in 2019!

Futuremag Music: A bit of a weird one to wrap it up, if 'Otherwise Fine' was a cocktail, what would be in it to best describe yourself and your music?

Otherwise Fine: This may be a cop out, but I have to go Tequila. Jake and I met when we both had residencies at the same night club, and we had this tradition of starting every night with 2 shots of tequila. I know it’s not much of a cocktail - but we like to stick to the classics. And hopefully ‘IwantU’ becomes just that. A classic you can add to all your favourite playlists.